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Cruising with the crew of CALOU on the Baja Ha-ha and Pacific Puddle Jump
Video tour of Puebla
01/20/2010, Puebla, Mexico

We visited Puebla, Mexico's 4th largest city, whose historic center is filled with 16th century Spanish and French architecture. Due to its history and architectural styles ranging from Renaissance to Mexican Baroque, the city was named a World Heritage Site. The city was founded in 1531 in an area called Cuetlaxcoapan which means "where serpents change their skin." The city was originally called "Los Angeles". The original name of the city was "Puebla de Los Angeles".

Besides its architecture, the city is famous for its cuisine, including "mole poblano", (which means, Puebla style mole), a sauce made of 50 different ingredients including chili peppers, peanuts, chocolate, and cinnamon. Chicken prepared with mole poblano is considered the Mexican national dish.

The city is at 2200 m (7000 ft), so daytime temperatures are moderate year round and cool at night. It is surrounded by snow capped volcanoes, with elevations of 5500 m (18,000 ft).

We stayed at a very nice hotel near the town center called Real Santander. We would recommend the excellent restaurant, "Mural Poblano", located near the town square. Exquisite food and reasonable prices.

Mexico Sailing Trip 2008-2011
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The main street in Tepoztlan with its rustic church and the majestic mountain backdrop.

Mexico Sailing Trip 2008-2011
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Hike to Tepozteco (video)

Mexico Sailing Trip 2008-2011
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closeup of Mayan temple Tepozteco
01/18/2010, Tepoztlan

This is a closeup view from the previous photo, of the Mayan temple Tepozteco.

Mexico Sailing Trip 2008-2011
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Climbing the Cliffs at Tepoztlan

We spent the night at a posada in the town of Tepoztlan, which means "place of abundant copper" in the Nuahtl language. This is a literally magical city, as it seems to have spiritual significance to many. The town is bordered by enormous cliffs, a thousand feet high. We climbed a trail straight up one of these cliffs, to visit an ancient Mayan temple (circled in the photo). It was quite a hike but the view at the top made it worth it.

The town is a bustle of activity, with hundreds of good restaurants, bars, a farmer's market, craftsmen, etc. Throughout the day and into the evening the streets are so filled with pedestrians that it is barely possible to drive a car.

The photo here is from our room looking toward the cliffs. The Mayan temple Tepozteco is just catching the morning light at the very top.

Mexico Sailing Trip 2008-2011
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We visited the 8th century Mayan temple at Xochicalco, near Cuernavaca. Behind us is the magnificent Temple of the Feathered Serpent. The carvings on the side depict the different cultures that the Mayans knew about in the 4th century, including Asians. The Asians are depicted with beards, and a symbol indicating that they crossed the ocean to get there (a foot on the ground, separated by water & waves, and another foot on the other side of the water).

The name Xochicalco may be translated from Nahuatl as "in the (place of the) house of Flowers". The apogee of Xochicalco came after the fall of Teotihuacan and it has been speculated that Xochicalco may have played a part in the fall of the Teotihuacan empire.

The architecture and iconography of Xochicalco show affinities with Teotihuacan, the Maya area, and the Matlatzinca culture of the Toluca Valley. Today some residents of the nearby village of Cuentepec speak Nahuatl.

The main ceremonial center is atop an artificially leveled hill, with remains of residential structures, mostly unexcavated, on long terraces covering the slopes. The site was first occupied by 200 BC, but did not develop into an urban center until the Epiclassic period (A.D. 700 - 900). Nearly all the standing architecture at the site was built at this time. At its peak, the city may have had a population of up to 20,000 people.

Mexico Sailing Trip 2008-2011
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01/18/2010 | Lou Freeman
Fascinating narrative. You might be interested in a book by a retired UK naval officer titled 1410 - the Year China Discovered the World. They were here 80 years before Columbus. Wow the boys are growing. Best to all.
01/18/2010 | Bruce
in fact, the Mayans recorded the presence of the bearded Asians (possibly Chinese) on this monument in AD 700.
Road Trip to Patzcuaro
01/12/2010, Patzcuaro, Mexico

We took a road trip from Ixtapa to Patzcuaro, a colonial city in Mexico which was the first colonial capital of Michoacan. The altitude is 2100 m (7000 ft) so the temperatures were chilly, and freezing at night.

Patzcuaro is a picturesque 16th century colonial city. The town has retained its colonial architecture with adobe and wood buildings with tiled roofs and cobblestone streets. It is on the shore of a large lake, Lago Patzcuaro.

We took a ferry out to Janitzio, an island in Patzcuaro lake. The village on the island has no streets or motor vehicles, but lots of incredibly steep pedestrian paths which are basically stairs leading to the summit of the island. The island is populated by indigenous fishermen and craftsmen.

At the top there's a monument to a Mexican revolutionary war hero, Morelos. You can climb up inside the monument to dizzying heights, and exit at the end of the statue's upraised arm.

Mexico Sailing Trip 2008-2011
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How to remove a 500 Lb engine from a boat
01/03/2010, Ixtapa, Mexico

We removed the engine from the boat today. Without any special tools, I was wondering how this could be done. It is a 75 HP diesel engine, after all, which weighs, my guess, 500 Lb (220 kg).

The first step was to reduce the engine weight by removing as much hardware as possible (head, oil cooler, air cooler, alternator, starter). Every kilogram we could get off the engine would be a kilogram less we would have to lift.

Then we wrapped the engine with ropes and lifted off the mounts using a line and blocks leading to our primary winch, so that we could remove the transmission.

Then we put the engine on a piece of plywood and slid the assembly towards the companionway.

From there we rigged a rope via a block on the boom to lift the engine about 8 feet from the cabin sole to the deck.

Then we swung the boom over the side to the dock and lowered the engine onto a dock cart. I'm sure that was the heaviest load that dock cart ever carried.

When we pulled the engine across the aluminum gang plank to shore, there was noticeable bend in the gang plank. The marina crew suggested that I not cross with the motor, so that I would not add my own 100 Kg to the load on the gang plank.

Tomorrow we'll take the motor by truck to a machine shop in Acapulco, to have the motor overhauled.

Mexico Sailing Trip 2008-2011
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01/04/2010 | Carrie Bershee
Wow- your description of removing your engine sounds practically identical to ours! We removed our 40hp Westerbeke from our 36' Pearson ketch in Oct 2008 and it was quite a task. Totally worth it, though, as it runs like new now. Best of luck to you all!


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